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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jun 1, 2011 9:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

Well, folks, I finally had a chance to hear and think about 10/31/71, set 2, aka DP2 ... so, as promised, here’s my report :-)

The short version: If you don’t have it, get it!

The longer version: Every minute of this would stop a freight train in its tracks. That DS is just gorgeous – sweet, melodic, with one beautiful jamming bit after another. It just doesn’t quit.

Then, when it finally gets lassoed back to earth with Sugar Magnolia, I was really struck by how pairings can affect the feeling and reading of a song. I’ve always loved the celebratory sunniness of Sugar Magnolia (who doesn’t?), but tend to hear it as the eternal End-of-Show Happy Dance. But coming into it from such a trippy place as that DS, and on a night when the playing is just so intense, gives it a fascinating edge and wildness. So it’s not just leading back into the sunlight, but is adventurous in itself. Which also points out why, ideally, it’s SO much better to hear the whole thing in context, and not cherry pick songs ... OK, off on a tangent here!

Anyway, this of course caused me to do some research, and (whaps self on head with ice cream cone) I realized I’ve definitely heard that pairing before. Seems it was pretty common during E72 in particular. (A few more: 4/14, 4/17, 4/29, 5/4, 5/11, 5/25/72.) But that’s the first time I recall it striking me specifically. Anyway, I do find it interesting how pairings affect things.

Okey doke, moving on. Love the StSt. I guess some reviewers say it’s the most vocally awkward of the tunes on the DP, but I love that slightly raggedy, edge-of-wildness sound, which to me is part of a perfect StSt. I do like the sweet 77s (and even the abortive little effort to bring it back in ’83), but the earlier ones just have so much more ... in-and-out-of-the-gardenness. To me, ones like these are exactly what St Stephen IS.

As for the NFA > GDTRFB > NFA ... holy heck. What’s to say about that, other than: did the whole theater levitate or something? If they’d done that at the Pentagon, that protest would have worked for sure.

So, boys n girls, get yers today!



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Poster: clementinescaboose Date: Jun 1, 2011 2:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

LOVE the review AR...I'm so glad you've finally heard this incredible music. talking about this DP recently inspired to to give a listen again, i hadn't heard it in quite a while. i just listened to the NFA>GDTRFB the other day and was blown away yet again.

i'm saving the Dark Star for a special occasion, because it's just too great to have on at any old time in the background or something...i need to go on a DEEP journey with this one.

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Poster: reviewr Date: Jun 3, 2011 8:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

I love this CD, but I find it to be a bit of a curse.

It's not a show I've heard of before, which makes me want to look for others like it (the hidden gem).

The curse: I spend too much time away from shows that I know are good.

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Jun 1, 2011 10:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

Yes! Thanks to the GD doppler effect, you can hear Sugar Mag coming from about 10 miles away. So sad that the rockin' first set wasn't included on the DP, but at least we have it here. The Cumberland and Saturday Night to end set one really rip!

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1971-10-31.sbd.miller.79011.sbeok.flac16

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Jun 1, 2011 12:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

Don't forget the 4-8-72 DS>Sugar Mags>Caution that was featured on Steppin' Out. It is a freight train that is heading down a long steep slope.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 1, 2011 2:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

I know everyone's seen this, but this was my review of the Dark Star. (By the way, if you hear this along with the 10/21 and 10/24 Stars, it adds a lot of perspective to what's going on.)

10/31/71
Having heard this Star so many times, it's hard not to hold it in special reverence. The playing seems especially calm, possessed, focused. From the start, Garcia's lighting a path to infinity with unimprovable playing - for example, check out the repeated notes he hits after first introducing the Dark Star theme, about five minutes in. He takes a long, piercing detour around the riff, then blazes right into into the Star theme again. After the verse, there's still no space; Garcia plays a cyclical pattern (similar to a '68 Cryptical), then he picks up on Lesh's bobbing line, and bang, they're in the middle of a hot jam. But he quickly lets it go, searching for a different approach; the others follow him, trying to establish solid ground. Garcia's very restless in this performance - he keeps shifting around, gets a handle on one line and then reaches for something else, dropping jams before they can build - so this Star doesn't have the driving forward momentum that 10/24 had. The other guys seem to be just keeping up!
Finally Garcia starts the Tighten Up riff, the first full-fledged Tighten Up in Dark Star for a year. Once the others have picked it up, he solos over the chords. In the middle it pauses, then resumes; at the climax Garcia holds onto one repeated note for several bars, then soars into a higher pitch. As the jam winds down, he changes styles, playing a sputnik-type pattern that slows to a smooth stop. It's the perfect opening for the second verse, and they hint at the Dark Star theme, but Garcia's not yet ready. He's still switching tones, nudging the others; the music gets wiry, with a more frantic edge, and they take it into a little discordant-flamenco bit (a distant ancestor of the Tiger jam). They're building up to something, tensely sustaining their notes. Godchaux brings in a stabilizing chord, and the band coalesces around it, all their overtones blending into one giant drone. Garcia holds feedback over the piano notes as Weir and Kreutzmann start Sugar Magnolia beneath the din - and a moment later, they're all in the new song. It's one of the most amazing segues they ever pulled off. (In the Europe '72 tour they'd try the Dark Star>Sugar Magnolia segue frequently - 4/14 is another striking example like this one, with Weir boldly cutting to Sugar Mag while Garcia's off deep in space.)
(Note that Godchaux is very quiet in the mix; so he sounds like more of a background player in this performance, though he does get louder as it goes along. The Compendium reviewer, by the way, called this Star flat and lifeless! "Too careful and pensive, void of any feeling," he says...)
Later on, the last St Stephen for many years is rather stiff, but Garcia pulls off some very unique soloing. He's not through for the night, either; Not Fade Away was going through a tremendous revival this fall, and his solos in this Not Fade Away will - as they say - steal your face right off your head....

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jun 1, 2011 4:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

I have always found the appeal of this Dark Star to be somewhat confusing,it is clearly a transitory version,that tends to jump around in search of some direction and never really gels.The pre-verse jam contains some nice Jer and Phil interplay,and Weir while low in the mix adds some nice fills.After the verse Jer and Phil trade licks into a riffy jam sort of on the main theme/Other One-ish, then Jer noodles about until they settle into a lackluster Tighten Up jam that dissolves into a hackneyed end at about 19:30 where Jer proceeds to noodle until the 21 minute mark,where he reels off some very nice stinging leads and the music takes off into a strong space with Billy adding some nice touches before the Sugar Mag.
The fact that this version is held in such high regard when it is not really the psychedelic force it was,nor the jazz/space odyssey it would become is where my confusion lies,I hear no music on this version that even comes close to the 69'-70' or 72'-74' versions that define the song.
The 10/21 and 10/24 versions are much more focused and have a more band oriented feel with Keith playing a major role in both,all the more impressive as they were his 1st and 2nd efforts on the song,each version has a good UJB jam and some hot spacey passages.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 1, 2011 6:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

Well, you're not all alone; the Taping Compendium wasn't thrilled either:
"Dark Star is played intricately and looks good on the surface, but it's too careful and pensive, void of any feeling. All the players have moments where they turn it up a notch, but never as a unified thrust. An interesting jam emerges halfway through...this leads into a spacey melt for a few minutes that starts to show signs of life - until Weir kills it dead by going into a decent Sugar Mag."

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Poster: yesss! Date: Jun 1, 2011 10:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

yeah, i have to agree with you. i have never really found this show to be as special as a lot of people feel that it is and, having seen it mentioned here numerous times, i have given it lots of chances to prove me wrong. it just doesn't speak to me, i guess. i do love the fall '71 tour (especially the more rockin' numbers like cumberland and NFA) but this isn't one of the stronger shows imo, and there are dark stars from the tour that i personally prefer. but that is what makes music such a personal thing for folks- we all hear it differently based on who we are and when/how we listen. whatever floats yer boat.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Jun 1, 2011 10:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

Thank God, I can't believe you waited this long.

When I was 8 or so, my dad and I heard this for the first time while we were driving to go skiing. He had just bought DP2 for himself. I remember not really "getting" the music then, the dark star was way beyond my attention span, but I'll never forget his reaction to it; I was staring out the passenger window and I looked over at him and he was crying.

About three years ago I started getting seriously into the Dead and this was one of the first things I heard, and I immediately understood why it affected him so potently. Listen to the love that is pouring out of Jerry's guitar during that last ten minutes of the Dark Star! That's music that could only be created by somebody who really knew what love/beauty/sadness was about. It's snippets of music like this that let us look into the soul of the player (in an abstract way, of course).

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jun 1, 2011 10:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

That's intense. Your story and the description.

I think that's true about Jerry's playing ... and not just at that point. I'd say it holds true in so many places throughout that show.

And hearing it in the car when you were eight, with that reaction -- wow. And how cool it must be to be able to share that with your dad now.

Here's what I remember my mom listening to in the car when I was eight. I really liked it. It turns out to be pretty intense, too, in its own way; not that I picked that up! I thought it was about a "cavern." (Any other kids of the 60s remember this? It's what was REALLY on the radio back then. Gosh, I love historical context ...)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDVhB0jGP7I



This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-06-01 17:37:21

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Jun 1, 2011 1:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

cool post about your dad. Yes DP2 is amazing. I recall making my way through that dark star years ago and considering it an accomplishment. I wasnt really moved. I now listen to it and think god how did i not get it!?!?! it is really epic. Does anyone know what the jam is that is played later like around 10 minutes into the dark star? I heard it during 1971-11-07 as well. I feel like ive heard it before, like its someone else's song that they found their way into and jammed on it.

Any thoughts?

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Poster: vapors Date: Jun 1, 2011 1:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

Just in case you haven’t seen these already, here are two links to light into ashes great write-ups on the subject:
http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2010/03/dark-star-1971.html
http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2010/01/deads-early-thematic-jams.html
I think the jam on DP2 is a Tighten Up jam. Not sure about what you are referring to in the 11/7/71 Harding Theatre version, but I’ll give it another listen.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 1, 2011 3:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

I don't remember it in 11/7/71 either?

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Jun 1, 2011 3:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

hahah i am likely lost in my dead show searching. I will get back to you. Thanks for the suggestions

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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Jun 1, 2011 3:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

Nice review and story. Thanks. I was in college at that time and I do remember the song. For some reason that I don't know, old-timey music was big during the early psychedelic era. The Dead did it in their own American way and the Brits did theirs. Sgt. Pepper's LHC Band was full of this stuff. Traffic was in there too. I think they referred to it as dance-hall music or something like that. It's amazing what sticks in the gray cells after all this time.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 1, 2011 2:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

The 4/8/72 Dark Star affected me in a similar way.

On a similar note, it's worth mentioning that when Phil Lesh visited David Gans for a radio show in '97, Gans played him the "Beautiful Jam" from 2/18/71, which Phil hadn't heard in all these years. Phil was almost speechless and in tears.

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Poster: clementinescaboose Date: Jun 1, 2011 2:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

thank you for that MC...

This post was modified by clementinescaboose on 2011-06-01 21:12:52

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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Jun 1, 2011 11:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

Well, AR, I'll let you know how well it stops those freight trains in my back yard . . . I'll be turning the compost into the bean patch and moving raspberries to make more room for tomatoes. The floods in North Dakota have stopped the Amtrack Empire Builder from getting through, so we'll see how DP2 effects the freight runs as the tracks will be about 30 to 40 feet from where I'll be digging.

A good dose of tear-jerking beauty might be just what the doctor ordered. I'll let you know.

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Poster: MindBendah Date: Jun 1, 2011 5:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 10/31/71 Stops Freight Trains

Great write up about a truly epic DS. This reminded me of another great DS> Sugar Mag, 6/24/70, while not being a true full pairing of the songs it does include another element included in the 10/31 DS that being an excellent rendition of a Tighten Up jam. After experiencing the other worldly Tighten Up jam the Sugar Mag acts as a grounding agent to bring the reality of the music back to somewhere within the orbit of earth before bringing DS in for a cosmic landing.

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